Sunday, December 1, 2013

How to correct a huge mistake?

Word today that authorities have arrested a Canadian, suspected of passing information to China about the current Canadian shipbuilding programme, which includes new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard.  Given the small maritime footprint Canada has, this seems a bit odd, eh? Yes, we should have a far bigger coastal and overseas presence, but no one's tried to invade our waters since the Second World War, so our marine capabilities have decreased quite a bit over the last half century over many governments of several different political stripes.

If one wonders why the Chinese would allegedly be interested in us Canadians, well maybe it's for the same reason we're interested in them. And the Russians, Brazilians, British, French and Americans. Cause that's what we all do: spy on each other.

But since Canada is not developing cutting-edge naval technology (to my knowledge), why has this become headline news up here? Maybe because of the tale of a certain Canadian naval Sub-Lieutenant who spied for the Russians? A case which embarrassed various Canadian security establishments to their allies. (You could honestly get more intel about the Canadian shipbuilding programme by buying rounds in Halifax bars for a few weeks.)

National security should be based on real and certain threats, not what appears to this observer to be - in this instance - merely a means of showing our partners we're on top of things. We aren't if we miss someone working with classified info in naval intelligence, but then notice a Lloyd's Register engineer. C'mon folks.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The return of the prodigal son..and Britney Spears

I'm back...For those who've wondered, the last couple of years I've been wandering the North American continent from coast to coast, from sea to sea, looking at a variety of security issues, and how regular people - including mariners - have been affected. Made a documentary film about what's happening to the Canada-US border. Spent a lot of time up close and personal seeing how fishermen work off Canada's East Coast. And watched as the issue of maritime crime (including piracy) has faded from the headlines. But it hasn't faded for those still affected by things. Just ask the families of all those still being held captive in Somalia or Nigeria.

Now, on the bizarre upside, look at this odd news item about how some are dealing with Somali pirates. I wish I'd made this up. And, as a colleague said to me today: "I had no idea Somali pirates had such good taste." Go figure, and read this: